Thanos… Good? Bad? Crazy? Short Sighted?
***If you have not seen Infinity Wars, turn back now. Unless spoilers are your kink. Proceed at your own risk.***
While other sites rush to get their theories and thoughts up on hot movies as quickly as possible.. We like to give it a beat and make sure that we’re not spoiling a great film for anyone.
So, without any further delays.. Let’s talk about Thanos.
The end goal for Thanos is ultimately to wipe out half of the universe to create balance. The universe overall is burning through resources faster than they can be replaced, and it is causing famine, war and death for many civilizations across the galaxy. In reality, Thanos is a complex villain who sees himself as the Savior or Hero of the universe.
He sees the issues plaguing millions and billions of the universes inhabitants and thinks he is the only person who has the right answer to the problem. And he has made it his mission to undertake the burden of collecting the various stones to complete this task, even if it costs him everything he’s ever loved. Yes, that’s right. Thanos may be a monster, but he’s a complex one who is capable of love.
In Avengers: Infinity War we see his home world of Titan, where his people were faced with extinction due to overpopulation. To put it simply, there were too many people and not enough resources to maintain the civilization. He tried to reason with his people that if something wasn’t done, it would lead to ruin. And as we can see in the movie, this is eventually what happened to Titan.
When most people think about what is essentially ‘genocide’, they often think of it targeting a specific group of people, based on either race, sex, religious beliefs, class, etc. Thanos’ plan indiscriminately chose who would live and who would die, by wiping out half of the population in the universe regardless of their social standing. Rich, poor, tall, short, young, old… There was no difference when it came to culling time because he sees this as the fairest way to execute the plan. Of course, not everyone saw eye to eye with him and his plan.
Fast forward to the moment where Thanos says to Gamora that his actions allowed her home planet to become a thriving paradise once again. This implies that while his plan was extreme and insane, there has been some “success” when he put his plan to action. It feels absolutely crazy to say it, but there may be some rhyme and reason to his madness, at least with the one and only scenario we were presented with in Avengers: Infinity War. It’s hard to gauge the success of his plan without any insights or data, as we don’t know what lead to their economic ruin either. It could have been resource depletion for natural gasses, or simply just food. But we were under the assumption that if Thanos hadn’t taken out half of the planet, they may have survived for generations to come.
Now, I try to avoid politics when it comes to my writing. I like to write from the heart, and add new perspectives without getting political or politically correct. I do believe that a lot of art does reflect upon real life. Look at our world on its’ current state, there are tons of people starving all over and most wars have been fought over resources that start to run dry. Conflicts, wars, fighting, death and destruction usually follow when one group of people want access to vital resources that another group just so happens to have, regardless of the necessity for it from either party. It could be that the one group really needs it, or they just want control and power from obtaining it. Before we go any further, let’s set the record straight. In no way, shape or form are we suggesting genocide as the answer to our world’s finite resource and overpopulation problems. But when you look at the situation through this monsters eyes for a moment, you see that he is taking no please in taking on this burden. He does all of this with a heavy heart, and even when he talks about his plan, he always seems very somber in regards to it. He also is extremely self-aware and even discusses the fact that the universe doesn’t understand his motivations, but it’s up to him to “save” the universe. When you look through the monsters eyes, at the end of the day he sees himself as a hero, sacrificing whatever he needs to accomplish the mission and save the day, for the greater good of the universe.
There’s a reason some call him the Mad Titan. I can see exactly WHY he thinks his plan would work. Less people means less mouths to feed. It also means there are less people to use all of the valuable resources.
But there are many reasons why his plan was flawed from the beginning.
WHAT CRITERIA MAKES ONE LIFE BETTER THAN ANOTHER?
First, his plan was to go about this as fairly as possible, by being indiscriminate with who is selected to disappear for the greater good of the universe. While I completely understand the objectivity of being fair and choosing those to die at random, we can’t put everyone’s life on the same playing field. Who’s to say that one of the individuals selected at random wasn’t destined to cure cancer, or prevent some intergalactic catastrophe? Or what if you kill an extremely skilled and needed surgeon that’s specialty is invaluable? The opposite side would be that with the randomized killing, he could also be taking out the next dictator or possible mass murderer. But it all seems just a little too simplistic of an approach to a very complex problem.
The other problem is that these civilizations rely on skilled people to keep everything running. If he wipes out half of the population and those were people who ran power plants, were pilots, or had key important careers to keep the resources stable, it wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors here.
DOES ANIMAL AND PLANT LIFE COUNT, TOO?
One big question left unanswered… Does half of the universe’s population also include animal or plant life? They are living creatures who are also a part of the universe’s population. They use many of the resources that Thanos is claiming are in jeopardy. If we wipe them out, some resources may become sustainable again… But if you take away 1/2 of the world’s cattle supply, you may be putting yourself in an even WORSE scenario than you were previously in.
FOR EVERY PLANET IN NEED, ANOTHER IS THRIVING.
Another hot button issue here is that while planets X, Y, and Z might be facing a devastating problem, planets A, B, and C are thriving. In this scenario, you are taking away people who provide for the thriving planets and possibly jeopardizing their futures. You are essentially punishing them because the other planets were living in poverty. I understand the whole point about his choices were to make it as fair as possible, but it seems extremely unfair for the civilizations that are booming and do not need a purple people eater “hero” to save them from themselves.
MASS CHAOS IN THE AFTERMATH.. HOW LONG TO RECOVER?
In the ending credits we see the mass chaos that follows directly after his actions. Cars and helicopters crashing, people in panic.. Mass hysteria. Think of how much time it would take to rebuild everything hanging on by a thread in this very moment. Would it take months? Years? Decades?
Who knows how many people would fall into despair from losing their friends and family?
WIPING OUT “INTELLIGENT LIFE” STILL CREATES THE SAME PROBLEMS FOR OTHER SPECIES
The next issue with his plan is that it seems short term. Let’s say that his plan will only wipe out half of the “intelligent life” in each section of the universe.. Won’t all the cute animals and plants that get left behind face the same issues sooner or later? This is especially true if that planet has already depleted a lot of their natural resources, such as food and water. Sure, he cut down on the population, but it’s not like he replenished the resources in the process. So now a universe wide genocide may need to occur at intervals throughout time to ensure that the societies can maintain a balance in inhabitant to resource ratios.
WHY DIDN’T HE USE THE INFINITY STONES TO FIX THE RESOURCE ISSUE?
It feels like Thanos was almost blinded by his self-proclaimed genius and the power of the Infinity Stones, that he failed to really see the potential here. These stones have the ability to grant him basically anything he wants. If he wanted to solve the universal resource crisis, all he would have had to do is snap his fingers and BOOM! Problem solved. If he can change energy beams into bubbles, I don’t doubt that he can change dirt into yummy food or other elements into necessary resources for survival.
WHY DIDN’T THANOS USE THE STONE TO PLAY JUDGE AND JURY BEFORE DAMNING SO MANY?
We already know the stones have tremendous power, so it’s not out of the question for Thanos to have the ability to quickly audit the minds and hearts of every person and take out those who are not pure of heart. With the time stone, he could also see their futures and see any heinous acts they may be capable of. If he has the ability to end life for half of the universe in a snap, why wouldn’t he be able to do a few extra things in the process?
LONG STORY SHORT, THIS PLAN SUCKS.
While Thanos was the “hero” in his own mind and he strongly believed he had good intentions, his plan was extremely flawed from the beginning. “The path to hell is paved with good intentions” rings loud and clear when we think of Thanos. So while he believed these actions were coming from a good place, his perception was so warped that he couldn’t see the pain and anguish he caused for millions of others. He was also so short-sighted that he was incapable of seeing what would happen after the execution of his plan.
The way Marvel executed Thanos in a cinematic form was outstanding. We saw someone who wasn’t a cookie cutter villain with the generic 2D personality and plan. Thanos saw a problem that would lead to ruin and took the burden on himself to find a solution, albeit it wasn’t the best solution or execution of it. He was so blinded by this plan that he couldn’t see past the short term goal of getting the stones and executing the plan, at all costs.
I guess that’s why they call him the Mad Titan after all.